Pop Bang Suzuki GSX250
Australia’s Gold Coast averages 245 days of fine, sunny weather each year. Combine those awesome weather conditions with a picture perfect coastline, tropical forests and plenty of well maintained roads and you’ve pretty much created a motorcyclists wet dream. One builder who’s been servicing the custom needs of the Gold Coasts privileged riding community for the past 4 years is Justin Holmes who is the owner/operator of ‘PopBang Classics’. Justin’s a multidisciplinary builder with years of experience in spray painting, mechanics, engineering and fabrication and he builds everything from classic Brit based choppers to retro Japanese cafe racers. One of his latest creations is this tidy little ’81 Suzuki GSX250 and I’ve got the scoop from the man himself about how it all came together…
The owner of the Suzuki came to Justin after purchasing the $300 basket case. As an unfinished, neglected project the bike was missing plenty of parts and to Justin’s disgust what was left on the bike was plenty of matt black rattle can paint. Over 12 months Justin shared his time between the Suzuki and other builds in the shop working to the owners request of a specific paint scheme and some Cafe Racer styling. The only other instruction Justin was given was to “go for it” so using his sizeable skill set that’s exactly what he did.
“I definitely wanted to make the bike as minimal as possible while having a lot of stand out details. Simple, sleek and classy was how I pictured it from the beginning.
“The rims and hubs were then laced up with stainless spokes and fitted with Firestone Champion Deluxe rubber. I then had the motor glass bead blasted to remove all the corrosion and the dodgy paint. During this stage I noticed some crazy sealer baked onto the engine around the base gasket where someone had tried to patch up an oil leak. It looked like liquid nails and is exactly the sort of thing you tend to find on neglected projects like these.”
“The points cover was machined out and the interior light lens from and old HQ Holden was grafted into it and painted candy red, giving it a kind of art deco look. LED lights inside the cover work with the oil pressure switch and glow nicely when the bikes running.”
“The exhaust pipes were custom made and were covered in a heat proof powder coat prior to being wrapped. I then turned up the tips on the lathe adding a 3 ring pattern for looks. All the foot controls/pegs and linkages were custom made from scratch and all the polished alloy features were hand machined and they all carry the same 3 line theme to tie everything together. The Velocity Stacks took about 3 hours each, being machined from solid round bar! The handlebars were also custom made with chromoly and they use old style Honda switches with an internal throttle assembly. The grips were also turned up out of alloy and wrapped with Brooks handlebar leather tape. I then proceeded to make a seat base out of fibreglass and had it trimmed in chocolate brown to match the Brooks leather grips.”
“All the electrics are hidden under the seat in a moulded fibreglass electrical box and all the wiring is hidden through the frame. I stashed the battery and solenoid in a custom box out of sight behind the engine under the bikes swing arm. The tail lights and indicators are LED inserts that I placed into custom made housings with smoked lenses and the tank was repaired and raised at the rear to follow a better line. I then painted cream it and polished it to a glass finish.”
Along with all of those modifications, Justin also added a Hella Black Magic spotlight modified to function as a normal headlight with low and high beams. He added a mini speedo, fork tube indicators, Progressive rear shocks, and some custom made fibreglass fenders. Billet mirrors hang from the handlebar ends and all the rusty old fasteners were swapped out for stainless ones.
What’s beautiful about this bike is its lack of clutter and the incredible amount of detail he’s integrated without sacrificing simplicity. With builds like this, you can be sure you’ll be seeing more of Justin’s work here in the future. In the meantime be sure to follow PopBand Classics on Instagram for a look at what he gets up to in the workshop from day to day.
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